Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday

Sometimes, there's no tool like an old tool.

As I posted last week, a co-worker gave me some old tools that belonged to his father-in-law. They're all very well-constructed and well finished tools that have suffered a bit of neglect, but are otherwise very solid tools. Last night, I stripped down the Sargent smooth plane to it's components and did my best to remove the majority of rust, paint splatters, oily dirt and debris off the plane. It was a nasty, messy job, but well worth it as you can see from the picture above.

The last parts that I worked on were the chip-breaker and the plane iron. For those who aren't familiar with planes like this, the plane iron is the blade that actually does the cutting. Sitting on top of the plane iron is a chip-breaker that is screwed to the iron with the front edge of the chip-breaker about 3/16" behind the leading edge of the blade. I pulled out a piece of float glass and a nice wet/dry 400 grit paper to clean up the nicked edges. The chip breaker was easy to true up in about a minute or so.

The plane iron, however, was another story. There were some large nicks in the edge, so I needed to remove a bit of material. I started on the same paper I'd just used. After about a minute, I stopped and looked at the blade. There was little effect. Whatever steel alloy was used for the plane iron, it was very, very hard. I added a bit of pressure and some more lubricant. Better, but I still wasn't moving much metal. I kept at it for about 15 minutes and didn't finish removing the nicks. I'll take it to work and have it ground with a cooled diamond wheel to avoid ruining the temper of the steel.

On the bright side, I shouldn't need to sharpen the plane iron very much at all.

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